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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Veterans United to put on holiday light show once again

Veterans+Uniteds+sign+on+the+property+informs+community+members+of+the+upcoming+holiday+lights+display.
Maui Danford
Veterans United’s sign on the property informs community members of the upcoming holiday lights display.

Veterans United (VU) will hold annual holiday light display for the fourth year this December. 

While the event will be open to the public Dec. 5-17, VU employees, senior citizen communities and local non-profit organizations have the opportunity to attend starting Dec. 1. Throughout December, people are welcome from 7 and 10:30 p.m. each night free of charge. 

The holiday lights will be set up outside VU’s building on Providence Rd, also the old State Farm building. The display includes a drive-through tunnel of lights, giant snowmen and winter animals made of lights, a real-life Santa with his reindeers and more. Members of the community will be directed into the lot by volunteers and workers and can follow the path of lights around the outside of the building to the exit. While enjoying the holidays in their vehicles, people can also tune into a certain holiday radio station that will be posted at the entrance.  

VU co-owner Brock Bukowsky said the light display was first put on during 2020 as an attempt to bring the community together during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company hoped a drive-through light show would give people an opportunity to get out of their house while maintaining a safe distance from others. 

While the show is costly to set up, Bukowsky said the light display is VU’s way of giving back to the community. He hopes to bring “holiday cheer” to everyone throughout mid-Missouri and spark memories of a lifetime for families and friends. 

“It was encouraging hearing stories of how it brought joy to people and built memories,” Bukowsky said. “One story I remember was [about] a great-grandmother in her 90’s. She had basically been on COVID[-19] lockdown since February and was able to ride along with her family as they drove through the display. They told me that the experience brought tears of joy to her and her family.”

VU Senior Employee Engagement Manager Haley Schwarz is a part of the behind-the-scenes team that makes the display happen every year. Planning begins the summer before the event and is finalized by August. Meetings are also held after the display closes to discuss changes for the following year. 

I always enjoy going to see the light show because the lights help brighten up this otherwise dreary time of year. I would encourage RBHS students to go see the light show because not only is the light show itself beautiful, but it also helps bring families together.”

— Junior Joesph Willmore

Schwarz said some members work with internal groups, including the VU foundation, while others engage with community businesses and companies. All of the lights used in the holiday display are purchased from a lighting company and are stored in warehouses throughout the year. While the display will remain similar to last year’s, new projections and imaging will be added. Schwarz said she encourages everyone in the community to attend, especially those who want to connect with others and enjoy large scale light displays with loved ones. 

“We love for people to have connections and special experiences together,” Schwarz said. “VU continues the light show to bring people together and share [the] magic of the season with the community.”

Junior Joseph Willmore said he will attend the display with his family when it opens to the public, as he has enjoyed going many times before. He said he loved the food they handed out in previous years, including popcorn, hot chocolate and other treats, as many were provided by local businesses. Willmore said he is excited to see what this year will bring.   

“I always enjoy going to see the light show because the lights help brighten up this otherwise dreary time of year,” Willmore said. “I would encourage RBHS students to go see the light show because not only is the light show itself beautiful, but it also helps bring families together.”

Also attending the holiday light display this year is VU Transaction Coordinator Kate Buse-Oberto, who plans to bring her own kids to enjoy the show. Buse-Oberto said her family has attended the event every year, with their favorite display being the drive-through tunnel of lights. She is excited to go again this year, as she said “VU helps usher in the holiday season” and “extends holiday joy to [the] entire community.”

“As cheesy as it sounds, my favorite part is sitting back and watching my kids’ faces as they watch the lights,” Buse-Oberto said. “There’s nothing like making these core memories with our family, and I am so appreciative of VU for putting this on for our community. This would [also] be a fun event for a group of friends to attend bring some hot cocoa to go and enjoy the show.”

The light display is not geared towards any specific age, Bukowsky said, and is a great way for everyone to celebrate the holidays. Because it is a free event, it is more accessible for the community and draws in more people each year. He said driving through the display is a fun way to celebrate what people believe in, especially when paired with hot chocolate, music, reindeers, Santa and lights.

“We think everyone can enjoy light displays around the holidays,” Schwarz said. “Grab some hot chocolate, a car full of friends and drive through for holiday spirit.”

Are you going to drive through the VU holiday light display this winter? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Contributors
McKenna Parker, Features Editor
Senior McKenna Parker is the Features Editor for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is also a member of NHS and Elementary United. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, writing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Maui Danford, Staff Photographer
Senior Mpawenayo (Maui) Danford is a staff photographer for Bearing News and Southpaw at Rock Bridge High School.

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    PatDec 16, 2023 at 10:59 am

    A very well written article about a very beautiful light show given, free of charge, by a terrific company! Thank you, McKenna and VU for making our Holidaya brighter!

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